The three baby opossums were orphans. Two lost their mother to a car accident. The third, to a dog attack.
Opossum rehabilitator (and dog rescuer) Sheri Kassalias agreed to foster the three – to nurse them back to health, and take care of them until they were big and self-sufficient enough to be released back into the wild.
Sheri Kassalias, an opossum rehabilitator (and dog rescuer), consented to foster the three, caring for them until they were large and self-sufficient enough to be released back into the wild.
Two of the babies have been perfectly happy with the idea. They were irrational.
The third had other ideas.
“Opie was so sweet he demanded to be held. He climbed up my sleeve,” Kassalias tells The Dodo.
Opie, like the others, gets toys and walks, as well as visits by Santa.
Aside from being a beloved friend, Opie has another job.
He’s registered with the USDA so he can go out in public, and he goes to schools and other organizations with Kassalias to instruct people about the wonders of his kind: Opossums, only one marsupials in North America, are ancient species that are immune to rabies and consume a large amount of ticks.
Kassalias like opossums as they eliminate external pests but do no damage inside the property.
Opie also helps draw crowds to dog adoption events by appearing as a special guest, and he’s starred in a charity calendar.
“He is an amazing ambassador,” says Kassalias.
Opie’s second birthday celebration was a highly successful.
His event was a fundraiser for The Opossum’s Pouch Rescue, and brought in hundreds of pounds of donated food, and also some blankets and other supplies for the rescued animals.
But it’s also heartbreaking to celebrate Opie’s second birthday.
A lifetime of an opossum is unlikely to exceed two years. Opie seemed to be slowing down little more. He’s always had difficulty with his balance and has lost some weight.
The other night, Opie sat in Kassalias’ lap while she cried over the thought of losing this magical marsupial, whom she calls her “positive possum.” Opie has brought so much joy to her life, while doing so much good for others.
“Regardless of how much time I have left with him, I know I have done absolutely everything in my power,” says Kassalias. “If his longevity was based on love, he would live to be 100.”